Now Streaming: CALLS, Brain-Melting, A La THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Directed by Fede Alvarez ('Don't Breathe'), the series is a sci-fi thriller that gradually comes into terrifying focus. Now streaming on Apple TV+.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: CALLS, Brain-Melting, A La THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Can you say that again, please? Please?

All nine episodes now streaming on Apple TV+.

Its audio-mainly premise make it sound like a podcast version of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, designed for television, directed by a filmmaker known primarily for his dark, menacing, and visually-captivating adaptations of well-known source material: Evil Dead (2013) and The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018).

Between those two well-executed, nasty and violent films, however, Fede Alvarez made the superb thriller Don't Breathe (2016), which was also mean-spirited at times, yet showed a superior ability to marshal the genre elements in play, to the greatest extent possible, brushing aside the limits of disbelief to fray viewers' nerves.

Somehow, I had not been aware of his involvement with this series, which dates back to June 2018, when Apple made a deal to produce an English-language adaptation of a French series "allowing audiences to experience short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals," per the verbiage reported by Deadline at the time. Alvarez was not mentioned then, so I don't know when it became involved, but his involvement made me curious about the series, especially when I saw that the episodes were less than 30 minutes each.

With only minimalist abstract visual images to accompany the audio, I "watched" the first episode, which quickly developed into something quite trippy, which made me curious about the next episode, which was quite suggestive and began to point more firmly at a science-fiction perspective, which made me more interested in the third episode, and I watched more, and then I ended up binging all nine episodes, which grow more complex and interconnected and bizarre and compelling.

And produced sharply, so that the "background" visuals remain abstract, yet suggestive of greater meaning. The voice cast includes a number of well-known actors, but, as with any high-quality audio production, it's the actors who make the characters come alive. It's the twists and turns and bends in logic and time that kept my mind focused and prompted me to remain transfixed in front of my television in a dark room, watching this show through all nine episodes.

The casting is very good; the actors made the characters dance in front of my eyelids, so to speak. Also, I loved the resolution of the show.

But no, I won't detail the "plot" or "what happens." It's too much fun to give away the ghost, so to speak. (Hint: there are no ghosts in the show.)

Content advisory: Most of the episodes are filled with a steady stream of profanities.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

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